Sebastian Bamberg | 01.03.2017

Environmental psychology and consumer behaviour

S. Bamberg. Photo: S.Bamberg
S. Bamberg. Photo: S.Bamberg

Public talk | 01.03.2017 | 16:00 - 17:30 | Uni Freiburg | Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany | Herderbau, Room 100


About: Dr Sebastian Bamberg is professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld, Germany. He is teaching psychology, amongst others with an emphasis on environmental psychology and empirical methods of evaluation of environmental attitudes and consumer behaviour.


Talk: Meat consumption, heating, showering, and car use – all behaviours with strong environmental impact performed by individuals. One focus of environmental psychology is on exploring and understanding the psycho-social determinants of such behaviours. The hope is that a better understanding of these determinants enables scientists and practitioners to develop more effective intervention promoting a person’s decision for the more environmental friendly behavioural alternative. In this context environmental psychology was and is confronted with a host of challenging questions: Are humans mainly self-interested utility maximizers? Could be an appeal to moral belief effective? How do social and cultural norms influence environmentally relevant decisions? What is the role of automatically activated habits? Meta-analyses summarizing the results of studies empirically analysing these questions are presented as well as the results of experiments evaluating the behavioural effectiveness of intervention strategies systematically derived from these insights. The presentation will also discuss the fundamental question, whether targeting the individual consumer is an effective strategy. Frequently changing infrastructural and/or regulative frame conditions may be the more effective strategy. This idea is reflected by the growing psychological research on environmental collective action targeting the socio-ecological transformation of our societies.